British Socialism - The Grand Tour

Episodes

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Broadcast
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01From The Fabians To Tony Benn20180302

Anne McElvoy traces the story of British socialism through the 20th century, from the Fabian Society's zeal to transform Britain through centralised state planning to the grassroots enthusiasm for Tony Benn in the 1980s.

Along the way, Anne traces three competing approaches to changing Britain in the interests of working people: utopian visions of transformation, mutualism, and plans to take control of the central state.

Producer: Phil Tinline.

Anne McElvoy traces the influence of Beatrice and Sidney Webb on British socialism.

Anne explores how Tony Benn turned from planning to populism amid the crises of the 1970s.

Anne traces how Labour Cabinet Minister Tony Benn turned from planning to populism.

Amid the crises of the 1970s, competing strands of British socialism struggled for dominance.

And one side, there were the statist technocrats who looked back to Labour's 1945 victory, and the building of the Welfare State.

But in the wake of the revolts of 1968, a new generation had revived a very different tradition - of a socialism focused more on radical self-realisation. Meanwhile, radical shop stewards forged a very different approach to trade unionism to the 'beer and sandwiches at Number 10' approach of the union General Secretaries.

So when Tony Benn moved from a mild, modernising emphasis on the possibilities of technology, and started marching alongside workers who had occupied their factories, and embraced identity politics too, it was a significant turn.

Anne explores what Benn's journey from Whitehall to the streets tells us about the paradoxes socialists faced in an era when they were often not on the margins, but in power.

With: Steve Fielding, Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite

01Omnibus: From Robert Owen To Keir Hardie20180223

Anne McElvoy traces the emergence of British socialism, from utopian visions to Parliament

Anne McElvoy traces the emergence of British socialism through the 19th century, from Robert Owen's visionary schemes for a society based on villages sharing goods in common, to the arrival of Labour MPs in Parliament in 1906.

Along the way, Anne traces three competing approaches to changing Britain in the interests of working people: utopian visions of transformation, local co-operative societies, and plans to take control of the central state.

Producer: Sarah Shebbeare and Phil Tinline.

01Socialist Feminism And 196820180301

Anne McElvoy explores how the Women's Liberation Movement and the politics of 1968 changed the language of socialism in Britain by reconciling the politics of identity with a wider socialist politics.

With:
Professor Sally Alexander, Goldsmith University of London
Professor Barbara Taylor, Queen Mary University of London
Professor Jon Lawrence, University of Exeter

Producer: Sarah Shebbeare.

Anne McElvoy explores the impact of the Women's Liberation Movement on British socialism.

01Tony Benn20180302

Anne traces how Labour Cabinet Minister Tony Benn turned from planning to populism.

Amid the crises of the 1970s, competing strands of British socialism struggled for dominance.

And one side, there were the statist technocrats who looked back to Labour's 1945 victory, and the building of the Welfare State.

But in the wake of the revolts of 1968, a new generation had revived a very different tradition - of a socialism focused more on radical self-realisation. Meanwhile, radical shop stewards forged a very different approach to trade unionism to the 'beer and sandwiches at Number 10' approach of the union General Secretaries.

So when Tony Benn moved from a mild, modernising emphasis on the possibilities of technology, and started marching alongside workers who had occupied their factories, and embraced identity politics too, it was a significant turn.

Anne explores what Benn's journey from Whitehall to the streets tells us about the paradoxes socialists faced in an era when they were often not on the margins, but in power.

With: Steve Fielding, Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite

Producer: Phil Tinline.

0101Robert Owen20180219

Anne McElvoy visits the Scottish mill village run by socialist visionary Robert Owen.

Following on from her acclaimed Radio 4 series on British conservatism and British liberalism, Anne McElvoy now traces the story of British socialism.

In this opening episode, she visits New Lanark, the early 19th century Scottish mill village run by Robert Owen, to find out how it became the seedbed for his pioneering vision of socialism.

Owen was a successful businessman - but he was also the great early visionary of socialist ideas in Britain. What led him to argue for a utopian transformation of British life, based on ending capitalism and replacing it with small settlements based on communal ownership?

With: Lorna Davidson, Gregory Claeys

Producer: Phil Tinline.

0102The Chartists20180220

Anne McElvoy charts the rise of Chartism in the mid-19th century.

Anne McElvoy explores how Chartism emerged in the mid 19th Century as the first truly national working class mass movement and how it became a decisive marker in the story of British Socialism.

With: Dr Katrina Navickas of the University of Hertfordshire
Professor Malcolm Chase of the University of Leeds
and
Professor Jon Lawrence of the University of Exeter

Producer: Sarah Shebbeare.

0103The Rochdale Society Of Equitable Pioneers20180221

Anne McElvoy explores the great Victorian tradition of mutual self help.

Anne McElvoy explores how the values and principles of mutualism, based around a commitment to greater equality, and a push for working people to have more control over their lives became a central thrust of a socialist belief system. Her journey begins in Rochdale, where a small band of workers gave birth to the co-operative movement.

With:
Professor Tony Webster of Northumbria University
Gillian Lonergan of the Cooperative Heritage Trust
and
Professor Jon Lawrence of the University of Exeter

Producer: Sarah Shebbeare.

0104The Revolutionaries20180222

The dreams, desires and romantic visions of William Morris and friends.

Anne McElvoy traces the dreams, desires and romantic visions of those who saw revolution as the better way to improve humanity's lot in the final decade of the 19th Century.

With:
Tristram Hunt, director of the Victoria and Albert Museum
Professor Mark Bevir of the University of California, Berkeley
Professor Ruth Kinna of Loughborough University

Producer: Sarah Shebbeare.

0105Keir Hardie And Ramsay Macdonald20180223

How an ex-Liberal trade unionist became leader of Britain's socialist Parliamentary party.

Anne traces how Keir Hardie, once Liberal trade unionist, became a socialist amidst the violent suppression of a Scottish miners' strike. And how to went on to become first an MP, and then leader of Britain's socialist Parliamentary party. She explores how Hardie worked in concert with ethical socialist Ramsay MacDonald - and how they had to choose between hardline socialists and the trade unions.

With: David Howell, Jim Smyth.

0106Beatrice And Sidney Webb And The Fabian Society20180226

Anne McElvoy traces the influence of Beatrice and Sidney Webb on British socialism.

Anne McElvoy explores how an unlikely marriage between social researchers Beatrice Potter and Sidney Webb would have a profound effect on the story of British Socialism and the development of the modern welfare state.

With:
Michael Ward, researcher and writer working on a biography of the Webbs
Baroness Dianne Hayter, former General Secretary of the Fabian Society
Professor Steven Fielding of the University of Nottingham

Producer: Sarah Shebbeare.

0107Ernest Bevin V Stafford Cripps20180227

The battle for socialism's soul between a trade union boss and a revolutionary barrister.

In the 1930s, the Depression hit Britain, fascism advanced in Europe, and the Labour Party was thrown into crisis by its leader's decision to form a National Government with Liberals and Conservatives.

In this episode, Anne traces the battle between rival traditions of British socialism amid the crises of the 1930s.

Should the Labour Party's goal be pragmatic reform in concert with the trade unions - as advocated by union leader Ernest Bevin?

Or should socialists follow revolutionary barrister Sir Stafford Cripps and aim for all-out transformation of Britain, however ferocious the ensuing right-wing opposition? Even if it meant suspending democracy?

With: Laura Beers, Steve Fielding, David Howell, Jon Lawrence

Producer: Phil Tinline.

0108194520180228

How Ellen Wilkinson went from Communism to the Jarrow March to a seat in the cabinet.

In 1945, socialists formed a majority government in Britain for the first time. Anne follows 'Red Ellen' Wilkinson from the Communist Party to the Jarrow March to a seat in Cabinet as Secretary of State for Education.

And she traces how - at least for a short while - the three competing strands of British socialism came together to create the Welfare State, before diverging once again.

With: Laura Beers, Steve Fielding, Jon Lawrence

Producer: Phil Tinline.